Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Wow this is good!" Steak Pizzaiola

Back to the freezer. A few weeks back I purchased 2 Porterhouse steaks. But we never got to putting them on the grill. So I made Steak Pizzaiola. My mom made this quite often. But let me tell you, making it with Porterhouse steaks really brings it up a notch. The meat melted in our mouths.


Spray baking pan with cooking spray (this make the clean up much easier). Take your steak and place in the pan. Top the steak with marinara sauce. I used
Sugo di Pomidoro Marinara Sauce. I saw this brand on the of Giada De Laurentiis show. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, we like our meat medium (me) to medium well (Chris). And that is all there is to it!

I made polenta with Fontina Cheese mixed in.

3 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
1 cups yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced, or shredded Fontina cheese

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter and cheese, and stir until melted.

Steamed Spinach finished off the plate.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pasta with Meat Sauce...

One picture is worth a thousand words. And yes that is a 1963 Flinstones jelly jar glass holding the wine!
Of course did I take a photo of the bread I made... NO! Well I made the No-Knead Bread this weekend. I originally found the recipe on the Not Martha site. This is the easiest breads to make and the finished product is beautiful as you would have been able to see if I had taken the darn photo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shepards Pie

This week's meals could all come under the heading of comfort foods. Tonight is one of my favorite meals. Shepard's Pie. The first time I had this was at my Aunt Marie's house. I was staying there with my Cousin Karen. The house was on Morse Street and it was the house my mom grew up in. It was a two or three family house. Anyway... I loved the meal and when I got home I was raving about it. So my mother starting making Shepard's Pie and it was as good as my aunt's.

It is such a simple recipe.
Chop an onion. Saute the onion in olive oil, about a tablespoon of oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add ground beef, 3/4 to 1 pound is plenty. Brown the meat and add frozen mixed vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Pour the meat and vegetables into a baking dish.
Make mashed potatoes. Yes you can use the instant potatoes. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Southwestern Turkey Chili

Ground Turkey. Not something I use very often. After shopping around the Internet for a recipe I found Southwestern Turkey Chili on the FoodNetwork site. So first mistake was that I picked up Red Kidney beans instead of the spicy black beans. So I had to adjust the heat I added some Cholula Hot Sauce, the greatest stuff on the planet along with some chili powder.

Ingredients -
10 ounces lean ground turkey, crumbled
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
2 (14 1/2-ounce) can spicy black beans
1/4 cup tomato paste
Chopped red onion, for garnish

Method -
In a large resealable bag, toss turkey with flour until flour is absorbed into meat. Heat oil in a wide 2-quart pot over medium heat. Add turkey and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Crush the canned tomatoes by hand and add tomatoes and liquid. Add beans and tomato paste. Simmer over medium-low heat until chili is slightly thick, about 8 minutes. Spoon chili into bowls. Top with onion. Serve hot.

I made some corn muffins with cheddar cheese using the Hodgson Mill Cornbread & Muffin Mix.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sausage and Egg Pizza

One of the benefits of being under the weather last weekend and being confined to the bed and sofa was being able to search food blog. One of the blogs I came upon was His recipes were very familiar sounding. He cooks just like the women in my family did. I was looking over his pizza crust recipe and decided to try it. Well it was a fantastic crust. Nice to work with and when it was baked it was nice and crisp.

On my visit to I stumbled upon a YouTube video for Sausage and Egg Pizza. Egg, tomato sauce and crust. Wow it was so good. I used turkey sausage instead of pork and I think I cooked the eggs a bit longer than on the video. Both Chris and I made the whole pizza disappear!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

I was looking through the freezer for something for dinner and grabbed a pork tenderloin. Then I found a recipe on for Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce. The only ingredient I was missing was the cranberry sauce. A trip the the grocery store and we were cooking. Now the recipe clearly says 10 minutes in the oven. I had read a review of the recipe and someone wrote that it took more like 20 minutes to reach the temperature. Mine took 30 minutes. It threw off the timing for the couscous and vegetable but I got over it as soon as I tasted the sauce. The Balsamic adds just the right flavor. We will be eating this again.

Ingredients -
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 8- to 10-ounce pork tenderloin

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

1/3 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Method -

Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Sear pork on all sides, about 2 minutes. Place skillet with pork in oven. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 155°F, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and rosemary; sauté until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add broth, cranberry sauce and vinegar and whisk until cranberry sauce melts, about 2 minutes.

Transfer pork to work surface. Scrape any juices from large skillet into cranberry mixture. Boil until sauce has reduced enough to coat spoon thickly, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork and serve with sauce.

Then there was dessert... A couple of days ago on the Proud Italian blog there was a post for Apple Wrapped Ricotta Tarts. I was sold. So I made them and they were very good. Mine did not come out as nice looking as the Proud Italian's but I think the taste was probably spot on. I had a scoop of Ciao Bella Sorbet, Blackberry Cabernet Sorbetto. If you have a chance to try this flavor please do, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Creamy Rice With Roasted Shrimp

Back in the kitchen! Worked from home so was able to make an appetizer for "happy hour". I had all the ingredients for the recipe in the house so... I had bookmarked this a while back and am glad I finally made it. The recipe comes from Joy the Baker. Prosciutto Dijon Gruyere Puffs. Wow they were good! And so simple to make. The hardest part of the recipe was waiting the 5 minute for the puffs to cool.

Ingredients -
1 package Puff Pastry
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
flour for dusting
fresh ground black pepper

Directions -
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. Once thawed, carefully unfold and lay on a floured work surface. If the pastry tears at the seam in the unfolding process, it’s not the end of the world, but try to keep it in one un-torn piece. Dust flour on top of the pastry as well.

Puff pastry will already be very flat, but with a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 11×9-inches. Layer the eight slices of prosciutto on top of the puff pastry. Using a butter knife, layer the mustard on top of the prosciutto slices. Top with grated cheese, and as much fresh ground black pepper as you like.

Begin to roll the right side of the pastry in towards the center. Next roll the left side of the pastry in towards the center. Press together. Dough will not stick together, but if you brush away some of the excess flour on the center dough pieces, they will stay together better during baking.

With a sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place on a baking sheet lines with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.

Now on to dinner...
Again I was fortunate to have all the ingredients in the house for this recipe. Creamy Rice with Roasted Shrimp from the Real Simple website. The recipe is for 4 servings. The shrimp was delicious roasted with the thyme, my favorite herb.

Ingredients -
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

kosher salt and black pepper

1 pound frozen peeled and deveined medium shrimp, thawed
2 pints grape tomatoes

8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Directions - Heat oven to 400º F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Add 2 cups water and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp, tomatoes, thyme, garlic, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Had a nice bottle of Wily Jack 2007 Zinfandel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Squash and White Bean Soup

This recipe came from the Real Simple website. Squash and White Bean Soup. I actually made it a week ago and froze it. So still not up to cooking I raided the freezer. I am sure that the soup would have been great fresh, but it held up to freezing. The textures of the veggies were not lost. I will be making this recipe again.

Ingredients -
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
kosher salt and black pepper
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (4 cups)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
Stir in the squash, thyme, 5 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

So we had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. On what type of bread you may ask... Well again a few week ago I made some rye bread and froze it. Brilliant. Darn good grilled cheese... I am considering a panani press... if anyone has any preferences please let me know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mom's Baked Macaroni

It is about a year now that we have had our freezer. It was the best investment I have made. This week I did not do any cooking. So into the freezer we go. This Baked Macaroni was my mom's recipe and I have made it quite often. Each time I switch up the cheeses. This one batch was true to my mom's recipe. Just American Cheese.

The recipe
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Grease pyrex loaf pan.

Alternate layers of
macaroni and American cheese starting with the macaroni.
3 eggs and pour over macaroni. Fill baking dish with milk to almost cover macaroni.
Top with
bread crumbs, and parsley.
Bake 350 degrees until set, usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

And that is it. It is perfect as a base recipe. If you suddenly find yourself with all sorts of left over cheese. True comfort food.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What do you eat when you are under the weather?

I am presently dealing with a cough and just feeling not well. So I have been denied access to my kitchen by my husband. We are probably all better off for that decision. It will be an interesting few days of dinners. I am sure they will be tasty and perhaps I will even blog about them. But until than I will stay under the covers and rest....
Go Saints!So what do you eat when you are under the weather? For me it is Hot and Sour Soup. I was introduced to the soup a number of years ago by my friend Heidi. I had never had it before and was dealing with a bit of congestion and she said to have a bowl and I have not regret it. It allows me to breathe. Ah what a feeling. Now I have added to the mix Ma Po Tofu, which is tofu, peas and scallions in a spicy sauce. I requested it to be extra spicy. And it was. And it was good.

So the whole resting thing was interesting today. I wandered around the internet and found a number of cool food blogs. Some of them have been added to my blog list. I also found some interesting recipes that I will attempt as soon as I am over this thing.

And the Saints Won!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stuffed Buttercup Squash

When I was shopping the other day I noticed a squash I had never tried. Buttercup Squash. After doing some research I came up with this recipe from, with a couple of changes, of course.

I cut the Squash in half and removed the seeds. I baked the squash cut side down for 45 minutes. Meanwhile I sauteed chopped onion in a knob of butter. Added ground beef and browned it. After the meat cooled I mixed it with 2 eggs, 1 chopped tomato, 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese and 1 cup Cheddar Cheese salt, pepper, parsley and oregano. Then I filled each squash half with the mixture and topped it with Panko Breadcrumbs and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

It was a snowy (?) night and this was a warm and comfortable meal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Vegetable Frittatta Sandwich

Picked up some veggies from my dad's garden. Zucchini, peppers and green beans. Made a vegetable frittatta. Usually I will put some sort of ham in it but not this time. Chris did not seem to mind... we did have some leftover meatloaf. We made wraps with the frittatta. I had goat cheese and dijon mustard on mine. I have been on a goat cheese kick since I had a Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich at Friend's & Company.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pasta with Meat Sauce

A couple of weeks ago I made a large pan of meat sauce. Today I pulled a bag of it out of the freezer and dinner was done. Also had some Italian bread in the freezer. It was easy and oh so good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meatloaf and Potato Dominoes

Happy Anniversary! Made a meatloaf tonight. I used the Easy Meatloaf Recipe from I added the pepper mustard and the cheeses.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (leaner is better)
1 cup 2% milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoon peppercorn mustard
1/2 cup blue cheese
3/4 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup of cheddar in a large bowl, and mix well. Place mixture into an ungreased loaf pan. Sprinkle extra chopped onions and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese over the top of the meatloaf. Bake uncovered for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until no pink remains at the center of the meatloaf. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the meatloaf should be 160 degrees. After baking, let sit for 5 minutes before removing from pan and slicing to serve.

Also made Potato Dominoes and sauteed Zucchini.

A friend asked that I name names... okay my husband's name is Chris! Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cauliflower Soup

Sundays in the fall mean one thing... football! We usually have some munchies during the 4 pm game so dinner is usually on the light side.

This week I found a recipe on for Cauliflower Soup. Taking a photo of a white soup seemed pointless. It was very tasty. I got the seasonings right and the cheese took away from the cauliflower taste.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1 2/3 cups grated white Cheddar
kosher salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, broth, and milk and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in the pan using a handheld immersion blender or, working in batches, a standard blender. Stir in 1 2/3 cups of the Cheddar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

But then there was dessert... Took a ride to Bishop's Orchard and picked up some apples. Made an Apple Galette from the William-Sonoma site. I used my usual pastry recipe instead of theirs. It was so easy to make and it looked great and the taste... well let's just say I am bookmarking the recipe.

I did make a couple of changes in the recipe. There was a paragraph about rack placement and using 2 baking sheets... I just used a baking sheet with sides and lined it with parchement paper and sprayed with cooking spray.

For the filling:
2 lb. apples, such as Granny Smith or Jonagold, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used Macouns)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sugar for sprinkling
1/4 cup apricot jam

To make the filling, in a large bowl, stir together the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Place the dough between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper and roll out into a 12-inch round. Brush off the excess flour. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Arrange the apple filling in the center of the dough, mounding the fruit slightly and leaving a 2-inch border. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the apples, pleating loosely. Brush the dough with the beaten egg. Lightly sprinkle sugar over the apples.

Bake until the crust is golden and the apples are tender, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the galette cool completely, about 1 hour.

Just before serving, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the jam. Brush the apples with the jam and let cool. Serves 8.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Do you want 2 glasses with that bottle of wine?"

We went to Cafe Allegre for our 17th wedding anniversary ( our anniversary is Monday). For appeitzers we had Clams Casino and Figs with Prosciutto. For dinner I had Chicken Sicliano con Gnocchi and my husband had Sliced Beef Bordelaise. Every flavor and taste was wonderful.
We order a bottle of wine. A few minutes later the waiter came back and asked my husband if we wanted 2 glasses with the bottle... My husband was tempted to say no she'll drink it from the bottle! We looked at each other and laughed. The people next to us laughed. Never have I been asked that question.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scallop Piccata

I was reading Proud Italian blog and there was recipe for Scallops Piccata which made reference to a recipe on Ciao Chow Linda blog. I tend to get very distracted by reading these food blogs. There are so many very good ones. Anyway we made the scallops recipe from Ciao Chow Linda. It was very good. Easy to prepare, with the help of my husband. And the taste was wonderful the sauce was flavorful and light... I plan on visiting that blog more often. We had Israeli Couscous and Green Beans from my dad's yard as side dishes.

1/2 - 3/4 lb. large sea scallops (about six to eight scallops – this is important – don’t try this with small bay scallops or you won’t be able to sear them properly without turning them to rubber)
1/4 cup olive oil
flour for dredging
3 T. olive oil
1/2 dry white wine
2 T. capers, or more if desired
salt, pepper
1 T. butter
juice of one lemon
parsley, chopped

Turn the fan on above your range. Place a cast-iron skillet over your most powerful burner and turn the flame up high under the skillet. Let it heat for a few minutes until it gets very hot to the touch. Then add the olive oil and let that heat for a couple of minutes until it is nearly smoking. Don't leave the kitchen for an instant. Dry the scallops with paper towels and lightly coat with flour. Add the scallops one at a time to the hot oil and cook for about 30-45 seconds on each side. DO NOT CROWD THE PAN with too many scallops or they will start to release liquid and reduce the temperature in the pan too dramatically.
Remove the scallops from the pan and put aside on a plate.
Take the pan off the heat and wipe the inside clean with a paper towel. Let the temperature cool down to medium, then add the 3 T. olive oil, the white wine and the capers. I like to smush the capers a little into the wine. Put the scallops back into the simmering pan with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste over everything. Let the scallops cook for just a couple of minutes more, then add the butter for flavor and to help emulsify the sauce. Add the lemon juice and parsley, swirl the pan for 30 seconds, then serve

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pizza Two Ways

I made a double batch of pizza dough so I made 2 different pizzas. One was a slight variation from the Closet Cooking blog. I really intended to follow the recipe as it was posted but the thought of the house smelling like onions just didn't grab me. So I omitted them. But I am quite sure they would have been a delicious addition.

2 cups butternut squash (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
dried sage leaves
1 pizza dough
1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
1/4 cup gorgonzola (crumbled)

Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil.
Roast the squash in a preheated 350F oven until tender, about 30-40 minutes and set aside.
Spread the butternut squash and the cheeses over the pizza dough and sprinkle the dried sage on top.
Bake in a preheated 500F oven until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

The second pizza was tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
The butternut squash pizza was really good. I usually just make the tomato sauce and cheese pizza but butternut squash and gorgonzola cheese... you can't go wrong.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spaghetti Squash and Kielbasa

I came up with this recipe up and it got rave reviews. I cooked the spaghetti squash and scraped out the insides. I seasoned it with butter, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. I sliced red and green peppers and cut up some kielbasa. Mixed all the ingredients together and placed them in a greased baking pan. Topped the mixture with Gorgonzola cheese and Panko bread crumbs.
Baked it for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. I love the taste of spaghetti squash. The Kielbasa was very good, from Stew Leonards. The cheeses and bread crumbs made a nice topping.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pappa al Pomodoro Soup, Zucchini & Feta Tart

Pappa al Pomodoro Soup. I found this soup recipe in the September issue of InStyle magazine. The recipe is from I Sodi Restaurant in New York. The chef is Rita Sodi and both my husband and I both enjoyed this soup. It was not heavy and the bread just added a comfy texture.

Serves 6
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced (I did not add garlic)
1/3 cup chopped basil
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 1/4 lb. ripe, peeled, seeded tomatoes, chopped (about 5 medium)
3 slices day-old white peasant bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups water
Olive oil and basil leaves for garnish

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, basil and sage and cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add bread and water. Return to boil and reduce heat. Stir, breaking up bread with back oa a wood spoon. Let soup simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with additional olive oil and garnish with basil leaves.

Also made a Zucchini and Feta Tart from the Closet Cooking blog. There are a lot of really good recipes on this blog. The tart was made with puff pastry, which I love. And the finished product was so pretty! I will make this recipe again and again.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Feta Chicken and Zucchini

From Real Simple. My husband loved this recipe.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 medium zucchini
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Feta

Heat oven to 400° F. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a roasting pan. Remove the zest from the lemon in thin strips; set aside. Thinly slice the lemon. Place half the slices in the pan.

Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on top of the lemon slices and season with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.

Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, parsley, pepper, and the remaining oil, lemon slices, and salt; toss. Spread the zucchini mixture around the chicken and sprinkle the Feta over the top.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer it to a cutting board and cut each piece into thirds. Divide the chicken, zucchini mixture, and lemons among individual plates and sprinkle with the zest.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bread, Beets and Fresh Butter

First off, I have been baking bread for years. It is something I can say that I am good at. There have been weeks when I did not make bread because I did not have the 12 to 18 hours to make the sponge. Today I was blown away by a recipe. Last week I made bread from Noshtalgia, No Knead to Thank Me
bread. I made the white bread and it was good. Today I made the No Knead French Bread. Delicious. Nice crust. The texture was amazing for the time it took to make from start to finish. I see no need to buy French bread. I got 2 loaves out of the recipe, froze one and we ate half of the other loaf before 4pm.

The only change I made was that instead of sugar I used honey.

No Knead French Bread
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. soft shortening
4 c. sifted all purpose flour

Measure flour into bowl, add water, then yeast. Let yeast dissolve thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let set 10 minutes, then cut through dough with a wooden spoon. Do this 5 times at 10 minute intervals. Turn dough out on floured board and divide in half. Let rest for 10 minutes, then roll each ball into a loaf. Make several diagonal slashes across each loaf. Let rise double. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

So there was a football game on today and I made some stuff to eat while watching the game.

I had never made beets before. I have opened a can or two but never handled a fresh beet. I was at Stew Leonard's yesterday and picked up a couple. My friend Heidi told me how to prepare them and gave me an idea on how to serve them.

My hands turned red! I was peeling the beets and noticed this... Anyway I peeled the beets and sliced them about 1/8 inch thick. Tossed them in olive oil and placed them on a cookie sheet in a single layer, sprinkled them with salt and roasted them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Next I toasted some of that French bread under the broiler. Spread some fresh butter that Heidi got me at the farmer's market she goes to and them topped that with some beet slices. I sprinkled the beet slices with some oregano (that addition was from my sister). My husband loved them!

Also used some of the bread for some Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Brushetta.

Also put out some Vegetable chips and Sausage stuffed bread, both from Stew Leonard's.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Baked Stuffed Figs, Chicken Picatta

Picked up some figs at the market today and made a recipe from the Gordon Ramsey's Healthy Appetit cookbook. Baked Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts. I had everything on hand except the goat cheese. For some reason when I was shopping I had kept thinking Feta cheese. So I substituted the Feta for the Goat cheese, it was not bad but I do think the Goat cheese would have had a creamier texture.

For 2 servings-
4 ripe figs
1 1/2 oz. goat cheese

small handful of chives, finely snipped

good quality balsamic vinegar, to drizzle

few thyme sprigs, leaves stripped

1 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Trim off the tip from each fig, then cut a cross through the top, cutting about halfway down. Squeeze the base of the figs to open out the top quarters like a flower.
Stuff the figs with goat cheese, sprinkle with snipped chives and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and pine
Stand the figs on a large piece of foil Bring up the sides and fold together to seal the package. Bake the figs in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Unwrap the package and serve immediately.

Now the Chicken Piccata was from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network website. It was delicious. Had some sugar snap peas and as a starch I had some Gorgonzola and Walnut Ravioli.

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.